World Bank Prepared to Respond to Food Price Volatility
The World Bank has expressed concern about the impacts of the increase in international food prices - resulting from the exceptional drought in the U.S. and current crop conditions in other grain producing regions - on the world's poor.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim says the World Bank and its partners are monitoring the situation closely in order to help governments put policies in place to help people cope. According to Kim measures such as school feeding programs, conditional cash transfers and food-for-work programs can help ease pressure on the poor in the short-term.
While crop projections don't indicate the potential for actual shortages in the major grains stocks are low and harvests will depend on global weather leaving prices vulnerable to higher volatility. That food price volatility creates unpredictability in the market and poses fundamental food security risks for consumers and governments.
Volatility can also discourage needed investment in agriculture because of increased financial risks and uncertainty for producers and traders. The World Bank has long cautioned that we can expect to see volatile, higher than average grain prices until at least 2015.
If the current situation escalates the World Bank Group is prepared to assist countries with measures such as increased agriculture and agriculture-related investment, policy advice, fast-track financing, the multi-donor Global Agriculture and Food Security Program and risk management products.
They are also coordinating with United Nations agencies through the High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis and with non-governmental organizations - as well as supporting the Partnership for Agricultural Market Information System to improve food market transparency and to help governments make informed responses to global food price spikes.
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